Types of Accommodations
The Disability Services Program (DSP) is committed to providing the accommodations necessary for any student to equitably participate in and benefit from all the DU community has to offer, regardless of disabilities. Be sure to request any needed accommodations from the DSP as early as possible via the Accommodate Portal. It is also a good idea to inform instructors of your accommodation requirements upfront, even before they are granted by DSP, in order to kickstart the process and optimize implementation.
Below, we have highlighted many of the most commonly requested accommodations available, though this list is by no means exhaustive. Please consult the DSP Student Handbook for complete details.
Disabling conditions that may indicate a need for test accommodations include, but are not limited to, visual and hearing impairments, motor/manual limitations, brain injuries, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, psychiatric or psychological disabilities, and chronic conditions which may affect endurance. Temporary disabling conditions, such as physical bodily injury or illness may also be grounds for test accommodations. The DSP will evaluate requests for test/exam accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
Testing accommodations may include but are not limited to extra time (time-and-a-half) is the typical standard, but the DSP evaluates requests for extra time during testing on a case-by-case basis), assistive technology (hardware and software), and a reduced distraction setting/environment. The purpose of testing accommodations is to provide the support that allows the measuring of the student’s course-content knowledge accurately while mitigating the effects of disability-related limitations.
Reasons for Early Registration may include but are not limited to the:
- Student who requires pre-arranged support services, such as sign language interpreters that are necessary for accommodation;
- Student who has physical constraints due to mobility loss, speed, and/or endurance;
- Student who has physical or cognitive restrictions due to fatigue, sleep disorders, medication side effects, or sustained concentration as verified by a physician, medical reports, or psycho-educational evaluation;
- Student who requires medical treatment/intervention/therapy that highly impacts scheduling.
DSP provides temporary accommodations for longer-lasting injuries or illnesses, including but not limited to broken bones, concussions, and ongoing illnesses lasting multiple weeks. Students with seasonal or very short-term illnesses (i.e. flu, cold, conjunctivitis, etc.) or other brief medical conditions should work directly with their instructors to discuss informal arrangements.
Students with disabilities must complete all academic and internship requirements for the degrees they are pursuing. Occasionally, limitations of a disability will warrant the substitution of a course or series of courses. In such cases, it is important to note that these class requirements will not be waived but rather substituted with other courses. Substitution courses must be of equal academic rigor, meet the academic standards of the department in which the substitution is requested, and the students' documentation must clearly support their requests.
In some instances, however, course substitution(s) would not be considered an appropriate accommodation. These include:
- The class is an integral part of the program, major, or minor — substitution would jeopardize the integrity of the program of study.
- The substitution could not fulfill the competency required for a particular degree.
- The documentation of disability does not support the need for such accommodation.
Per Assignment Extensions
DU recognizes that some students’ disabilities and/or certain medical conditions may impact their ability to complete assignments by the stated due date. These may include but are not limited to, disabilities or medical conditions that are episodic in nature, that fluctuate in severity, or that may require hospitalization.
Course instructors have the discretion to determine how or whether to modify due dates for particular assignments based on the core requirements of the course. Under applicable law, the University must provide reasonable accommodations, but is not required to fundamentally alter, waive or lower essential course requirements, academic standards, educational experiences, or outcomes in implementing the Per Assignment Extension (PAE).
Students seeking extensions for all assignments in a course should explore other options such as a reduced course load. If a student experiences an unexpected illness, injury, diagnosis, or change in condition, the student may consider withdrawal from a course, an incomplete grade, or pursuing a Medical Leave of Absence.
Regular class attendance is essential for the academic success of all University of Denver students. The Disability Services Program (DSP) supports and adheres to the University of Denver’s attendance policy.
All University of Denver students are responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements, including attendance expectations, of the applicable courses, programs, or degrees. However, the University recognizes that some students’ disabilities or medical conditions can be chronic, cyclical, episodic, or random and may impact their ability to fulfill attendance requirements. These may include but are not limited to, inflammatory bowel diseases, seizure disorders, diabetes, acute exacerbation of mental health conditions, various autoimmune disorders, or conditions requiring treatment such as chemotherapy or dialysis.
Seasonal illness (e.g. flu, cold, conjunctivitis, etc.), non-disability-related absences, and disabilities or medical conditions not disclosed to DSP through the application process are not subject to modification of attendance requirements pursuant to these procedures. Students with short-term illnesses should work directly with their instructors to discuss informal arrangements for absences. DSP can provide Temporary Accommodations for longer-lasting injuries or illnesses, including but not limited to broken bones, concussions, and ongoing illnesses lasting multiple weeks.
Based on the information provided by the student, the DSP determines eligibility for a Modified Attendance Plan (MAP) as a reasonable accommodation. Students with an approved MAP remain responsible for all material covered while they are absent from class, all academic activities (assignments, assessments, required readings, quizzes/tests/exams, etc.), and are subject to the evaluation standards specified in the syllabus.
Instructors have the discretion to determine how or whether to modify class attendance policies based on their assessment of the core requirements for the course. Under applicable law, the University must provide reasonable accommodations but is not required to fundamentally alter, waive, or lower essential course requirements, academic standards, or educational experiences or outcomes when implementing the MAP.
Alternate Format Textbooks and Written Materials
The University will provide printed materials in alternate formats text (AFT) for visually impaired and blind students, as well as those students with other disabilities whose functional limitations qualify them for this accommodation. The University is responsible only for providing AFT for materials (textbooks, etc.) that are required for the course, as specified by the instructor and/or are in the syllabus. The primary format is e-text (e.g. PDF, WORD), but the student may request alternate formats from the DSP.
Students must purchase all required course books that the University is converting to, or obtaining in, alternate format (except those obtained from Bookshare). The student must provide DSP with proof of purchase or ownership (e.g. receipt or other order confirmation) through the AFT Request form. As required by US copyright law, students receiving AFT must be the sole user of those files, and the students must not redistribute the files in any manner or format.
Students may be required to provide DSP materials (textbooks, course packs, and class handouts) to be scanned and converted into alternate formats. DSP will attempt to return books/materials in a condition that allows for resale, but students may not receive full resale value for the materials.
Foreign Language Substitution
Students whose documented disability is a substantial barrier to becoming proficient in a second language can be approved for a foreign language (FOLA) substitution. Students approved for a FOLA substitution are required to complete 12 credits, taught in English, from an approved list of courses designed to enhance cultural competence crucial in our globalized world. Students in certain programs may have to complete additional coursework associated with the FOLA substitution.
Courses approved to meet the FOLA substitution requirement can be searched in the online Schedule of Classes by selecting FOLA from the Attributes category. Courses will only be accepted if they are approved for the same academic quarter as the course they are replacing.
For transfer or study abroad credit, complete the Request Coursework Approval Form available in PioneerWeb. Specify that you want the credit to count as a FOLA substitution and that you have been approved by DSP for the accommodation.
Accommodations for disabilities or medical conditions cannot alter essential requirements for degrees or courses of study. As a result, students in particular programs or courses of study may qualify for a FOLA substitution but the foreign language requirement for their particular academic program may not be eligible for substitution. Please consult your advisor for specific information about foreign language requirements and consult with your DSP Accommodations Specialist for more information.
Contact your Degree Evaluator when applying for graduation to ensure your FOLA substituted credits are applied correctly on your Degree Audit.
The University of Denver is aware that assistive technology can provide persons with disabilities greater independence in pursuing academic goals. In most cases, the need for assistive technology must be justified through documentation (i.e. an assistive technology evaluation report, or past use of specific assistive technology) and requested by the student before this accommodation is provided.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to be familiar with technology specific to their individual disability since the University does not provide in-depth training in the use of such technology. The DSP staff or the University ADA Coordinator can provide information about community resources that are available for a technology evaluation and/or training.
DSP has established an Assistive Technology Lab currently located in Driscol South. The lab is used to produce AFT and also train students on various assistive technologies (AT) as well as for the production of tactile graphics, Braille, and alternate format texts. The lab contains many of the latest state-of-the-art equipment and software applications that bolster the academic experiences of students with disabilities.
Assistants and Attendants
The University provides academic assistants for classroom and lab work to students whose documented disabilities demonstrate an appropriate need. DSP staff will work with students and instructors to identify the types of assistants needed and then contract with the assistants for pay. If an assistant is deemed unsuitable, the DSP will make every attempt to find a replacement. Students may suggest names of possible assistants but may not contract for their services without the approval of the DSP.
Assistants are not tutors and will not be available to assist students outside of the classroom or lab unless prior arrangements with DSP are made. Assistants will not attend classes the student does not attend, and should not interact with instructors or other students in the class unless needed for clarification of a task. Assistants may not be utilized as note-takers or scribes unless previously approved through the DSP.
Students with disabilities requiring a personal attendant should notify DSP, who will then notify instructors. The University may require medical documentation of the need for an attendant. Personal attendants are not employees of the University but are employed by the student. The attendant must go through the DSP process to register as a Special Community Member at DU before they start providing direct personal support to the student.
Attendants should not interact with the instructor or other students in the class, except to facilitate communication between them and the student with a disability. As needed, the DSP will work closely with students and instructors to determine if and when this is appropriate.
Assistants and attendants are expected to follow the University Honor Code.
A Service Animal is one that has been or is in the process of being, specially trained as a “guide animal” for a blind or visually impaired person, a “hearing dog” for persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing, or a “service animal” for persons with other disabilities. No other species of animals other than dogs or miniature horses will be considered or allowed at the University. Students who have a Service Animal or Service Animal in training are not required to obtain an approval or notify University personnel of the need for or presence of the animal. However, it is recommended that the student communicates with DSP so that other possible accommodations can be discussed. Any student taking the assistance animal in the halls of residence needs DSP approval.
Access to the University of Denver by Service Animals includes, but is not limited to, classrooms, laboratories, public meeting/dining facilities, and residence halls. However, it is recognized that some areas such as laboratories may create a risk for the animal and/or other participants due to the nature of the activity. The student, in conjunction with the appropriate faculty member, will be asked to evaluate such conditions and if needed, alternative accommodations may be implemented.
The law provides that the owner or person having custody of a Service Animal is liable for any damages to persons, facilities, or premises caused by a Service Animal, including one that is in training.
It is recommended that Service Animals or animals in training wear visible insignia appropriate to the type of service they provide or are in training to provide (e.g. harness for a guide animal, orange leash for a hearing animal, yellow vest for a service animal) in order to distinguish the purpose of their presence.
Students are responsible for obtaining and paying for the care of their Service Animals, though DSP may be of help in locating appropriate services.
Emotional Support Animals and Assistance Animals
Students seeking to have Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) or any assistance animals (including service animals) in University-managed housing must receive approval through DSP before bringing the animal on campus. Students must complete and return the Request for Accommodation (RFA) form and provide supporting documentation as specified in the Documentation Guidelines for Emotional Support Animals.
The student must demonstrate, via supporting documentation from an appropriately licensed healthcare or mental healthcare provider, a relationship or nexus between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. Documentation must be dated within six (6) months prior to moving into University housing.
The University engages in an interactive process with students requesting to have an ESA or assistance animal in University housing to determine whether the request is reasonable and does not pose an undue hardship on the University or present a danger to members of the community or their property.
Typically, the University does not allow multiple ESAs. However, the University will evaluate such requests on a case-by-case basis, considering the information contained in supporting documentation as well as the size and/or species of the animals.
Following DSP approval, the student must meet with Housing & Residential Education (HRE) staff prior to bringing the ESA or assistance animal into University housing, in order to review and complete the ESA Resident Agreement and provide the following documentation:
- Copy of animal’s registration for the City and County of Denver, if applicable to the type of animal
- Veterinarian recommended vaccinations
- Proof the assistance animal is spayed or neutered, as applicable
- Current photograph of the ESA or assistance animal so that staff can identify it
- Contact information for an alternate off-campus caregiver, to provide care if the owner becomes unable to do so
Approved ESA’s are not permitted in any University facilities other than the student’s assigned individual living accommodation, including but not limited to kitchens and food service preparation areas. The student is responsible for maintaining control of the ESA at all times and for any disruption caused by the ESA in University housing. The student is responsible for caring for the ESA or assistance animal, including but not limited to immediately cleaning up and properly disposing of the animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner.
Campus Housing Accommodations
Students with documented disabilities (e.g. physical, medical, mental, psychiatric, sensory, etc.) who request a housing accommodation or modification must submit an application to Housing & Residential Education (HRE) through the standard housing application process by the stated deadline. If the student submits a request to DSP after the housing application deadline, HRE may not be able to implement the approved accommodation until an appropriate placement becomes available. If the HRE is unable to accommodate the disability-related needs, the student may be released from the housing contract.
If a student acquires a disability or has a change in a medical condition that necessitates a modification in existing housing, the University will make reasonable efforts to implement the modification in the student’s current assigned living space or move the student to another assigned living space.
Students with Hearing Loss: Requesting Communication Access Service Providers
For enrolled students with hearing loss who are approved for the accommodation of communication access service providers, the University will provide qualified service providers to facilitate communication. These service providers do not act as note-takers, tutors, or messengers for the student.
DU hires these service providers at no cost to students for events such as classes, academic meetings/appointments, and University-sponsored programs. Because qualified service providers are hired on a short-term hourly basis, students must submit requests to DSP in advance. The University employs access service providers at all public University-sponsored programs, whether or not students with hearing loss attend.
Note Takers and Audio/Video Recordings
Students with disabilities or medical conditions that limit their ability to take notes in class may be eligible for the note-takers accommodation. Examples of disabilities that may affect note-taking ability include but are not limited to learning disabilities, motor/dexterity loss, hearing loss, and vision loss.
Generally, the role of note-taker is filled by another student in the same class. Faculty and graduate teaching assistants are not required to provide lecture notes or supplemental notes to students. It is the student’s responsibility to contact their instructors and request that an anonymous announcement be made in class regarding the need for a note-taker. Sample announcements are available from DSP.
Audio recording lectures, class discussions, or other events not open to the general community may be permitted but should be discussed in advance with the instructor or speaker. If needed as an accommodation due to a disability or medical condition, then a Request for Accommodation must be submitted to the DSP along with appropriate documentation.
- Audio and video of Zoom meetings can be recorded to either a local computer or the cloud.
- Meetings recorded to the cloud can be set to have an audio transcript generated automatically by Zoom.
- Auto-generated transcripts can be edited using the Zoom web portal.
- Transcripts can be set to display as closed captions on video recordings.
The University of Denver is striving to make the campus accessible to persons with disabilities. All new construction and major renovations comply with federal accessibility standards. Since some classrooms on the DU campus are not readily accessible to persons with disabilities, classes and programs may occasionally need to be relocated to accessible locations. The University will relocate classes and other University-sponsored programs to ensure that students with mobility loss have access. Departments are highly encouraged to consider accessibility when planning programs.
Student Grievances and Accommodation Appeals
After submitting a request for accommodation(s), academic adjustment(s), or auxiliary aid(s) related to a disability through the Disability Services Program, if the student is unsatisfied with DSP’s response to their requests for accommodations or academic adjustments, or DSP's implementation of accommodations or academic adjustments, they may use this grievance process for prompt and equitable resolutions of their concerns.